Asda plans ad drive to back financial services

Asda Financial Services is gearing up to take on rival Tesco with the launch of its first brand advertising campaign.

Aimed at boosting awareness of its breadth of services, the multimillion-pound campaign is expected to comprise TV, press and poster advertising and is to be tested regionally before it runs nationwide in 2006.

Asda declined to comment on its plans, however, insiders say brand ambassador Sharon Osbourne will not feature in the ads.

Although the supermarket has been bringing in financial business through its in-store and direct customer acquisition channels, it is keen to expand beyond these to steal share from its rival supermarkets through the mass media.

The market leader among the 'non-traditional' financial providers is Tesco Personal Finance, which has 4.6m customers, according to research by Mintel in June.

Regional activity for Asda is expected to break in the next few weeks, and follows Sainsbury's Bank's 'Little Bill' car insurance campaign, which broke this summer.

Earlier this year, Asda became the first supermarket to offer an online comparison service for its insurance products in an effort to establish itself as price leader.

Last year, it announced it was to cut £10m from the cost of car insurance for 2005, as it sought to keep the product within its 'everyday low prices' strategy.

Financial services have been a key battleground for supermarkets because they offer highly lucrative returns on a comparatively small investment. Asda Financial Services' products include a credit card, car and travel insurance.

Tesco has a similar offering and has also launched mortgages, pet and life insurance.


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